The Rongai Route is easier and more scenic than the Marangu or Machame routes, and the success rate is very high. All climbers sleep in tents (tents are included) and meals are served in a dinner tent or on a blanket outside.
The route starts on the north side of the mountain just south of the Kenyan border. The descent is down the Marangu Route on the south side of the mountain, so climbers see the mountain from many view points.
You will depart Babylon Lodge and you will be transferred to the attractive wooden village of Nale Muru (1950 m / 6398 ft).
After signing in and preparing the porters, you will begin the hike on a wide path that winds through fields of maize and potatoes before entering pine forest. The track then starts to climb consistently, but gently through attractive forest that shelters a variety of wildlife. The forest begins to thin out and the first camp is at the edge of the moorland zone (2600 m / 8530 ft) with extensive views over the Kenyan plains.
The morning walk is a steady ascent up to the Second Cave (3450 m / 11,319 ft) with superb views of Kibo and the Eastern ice fields on the crater rim. After lunch, leave the main trail and strike out across the moorland on a smaller path towards the jagged peaks of Mawenzi. The campsite is in a sheltered valley with giant Scenario near Kikelewa Camp (3600 m / 11,811 ft)
A short but steep climb up grassy slopes is rewarded by superb all-round views and a tangible sense of wilderness. Leave the vegetation behind shortly before reaching the next camp at Mawenzi Tarn (4330 m / 14,206 ft), spectacularly situated in a cirque directly beneath the towering spires of Mawenzi. The afternoon will be free to rest or explore the surrounding area as an aid to acclimatization.
If you are spending an extra day on the mountain, you will camp for two nights here. You can hike up and around Mawenzi for your acclimatization hike.
Cross the lunar desert of the ‘Saddle’ between Mawenzi and Kibo to reach Kibo campsite (4750 m / 15,584 ft) at the bottom of the Kibo crater wall. The remainder of the day is spent resting in preparation for the final ascent before a very early night!
Begin the final, and by far the steepest and most demanding, part of the climb by torchlight around 1 a.m. Proceed very slowly in the darkness on a switchback trail through loose volcanic scree to reach the crater rim at Gillman’s Point (5685 m / 18,652 ft) Rest there for a short time to enjoy the spectacular sunrise over Mawenzi. Those who are still feeling strong can make the three hour round trip to Uhuru Peak (5895 m / 19,341 ft), passing close to the spectacular glaciers and ice cliffs that still occupy most of the summit area. The descent to Kibo (4700 m / 15,419) is surprisingly fast and, after some refreshment, continue the descent to reach the final campsite at Horombo (3720 m / 12,205 ft).
After breakfast, A steady descent takes us down through moorland to Mandara Hut (2700m / 8858 ft), the first stopping place at the Marangu route. Continue descending through lovely lush forest on a good path to the National Park gate at Marangu (1830 m / 6004 ft). At lower elevations, it can be wet and muddy. Gaiters and trekking poles will help. Shorts and t-shirts will probably be plenty to wear (keep rain gear and warmer clothing handy).
A vehicle will meet you at Marangu village to drive you back to the Babylon Lodge in Marangu. At Babylon Lodge you will have hot water showers and thereafter it will be time to celebrate with your guides and porters. Kilimanjaro beer for those who drink and barbecue will be a good way to celebrate your success of being to the highest point in Africa! The guides will also sing for you and the jovial mood of the evening will make your trip worth remembering!